Early start at Big Waters and when the sun started to rise there was some amazing colour.
It was still quite dark when the 14 Whoopers decided on an early morning stretch. Camera was on the wrong settings after taking the shot above and I was just pointing it and shooting but the movement in
this one I particularly like
In the Feeding Station the apples were attracting lots of Pheasants and at one stage there
were at least a dozen in view
Plenty of birds around with a couple of Goldeneye, 2 Buzzards over the pond, 16 Lapwings making several appearances but never landing, 23 Mute Swans and 10 Sygnets, 2 Little Grebe, 4 Great Crested Grebe, 18 Gadwall, 18 Teal, 43 Coot and lots of Wigeon. Half a dozen Long Tailed Tits arrived at the same time as Treecreeper (my first ever in the Feeding Station) and it kept working its way up a tree, flying off but immediately returning to the self same tree. A Water Rail also did a few runs inbetween the Reeds and the Filling Station. A delightful Wren kept me and Charlie busy trying to get a shot of it as it flitted from one side of the Feeding Station to the other.
A Kingfisher was present till about 9.30 and returned later when we returned to the hide to get out of the rain and have a chat with John D. The Otter was active for a lot of the morning also catching at least 3 fish and keeping the birds on their toes as it worked its way round the pond. I went for a walk with Alan J and Keith B but we only got to the bottom of the pond when we spotted some birds dropping onto a conifer just as the rain started. We stood and watched them for a while, identifying them as a couple of male Crossbills, a female and 7 Redpolls. See what you can count in this very distant, overexposed, oversharpened picture.
The walk was abandoned after 30mins sheltering in the trees, which enabled us to spot a couple of
Goldcrests, a couple more Redpoll, Long Tailed Tits and a Buzzard. We headed back to shelter in the 1st hide and I spotted a Juvenile Sinensis Cormorant with a coloured ring which hopefully Alan will be able to trace
A flock of Greylags arrived and after several recounts we decided on (I think) 71 plus a couple of Barnacles (a patch tick for me)
We then headed up to the main hide for a chat with John D and as mentioned above the Kingfisher returned the Otter came out again to stir the birds up and despite trying no one could confirm my early morning count of 14 Whoopers with only a count of 12 being obtained. As Alan and I left we realised there had been quite a large fall of Blackbirds and a few Thrushes with at one stage nearly 30 Blackbirds in view so the inevitable hunt for a Ring Ouzel took place but with no luck, one day though...........
Despite the rain stopping the walk we had a super time and as you always learn something when you are out no matter how old you are the one thing that will stick with me today is the positioning of the identification number of the 7 AWACS planes (dont ask).
Arrived home early to take the beloved out for a meal but she was too interested watching the film crew outside the house doing an episode of Vera starring Brenda Blethan so that saved me a few bob (well done Brenda) but no doubt she will want a nice meal out tomorrow and has already reminded me a couple of times that the bird food stock is getting quite low and the garden needs a bit more attention. The life of a Birder is so simple, allowed out for birding then do what your told, sound familiar anyone?